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... Airline merger takes off.

- Southwest to acquire AirTran - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
   Southwest Airlines agreed Monday to buy AirTran in a $1.4 billion deal that would solidify the low-fare airline’s position as the largest passenger carrier at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
   Together, AirTran and Southwest, under their current schedules, would carry one of every three passengers flying out of Buffalo and offer more than one of every five flights. The combined airline would rank just behind US Airways in the number of flights. ...
   Both carriers offer non-stop flights between Buffalo and Orlando, Fla., but none of their other nonstop destinations overlap. C. Douglas Hartmayer, a spokesman for the NFTA, said it was too soon to say what the planned merger will mean for local fliers.
   “Hopefully it will be a good thing,” he said. “We would look forward to expanded service to new markets.”
- Southwest’s $1.4 billion AirTran deal pays for itself - Reuters
- What Southwest-AirTran Combo Could Mean for You - CBS News
- Southwest: there's nothing stopping them - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
   Its original route map, the story went, was drawn up on a cocktail napkin as the founders had a drink in a bar.
   Its funky and funny TV commercials and noteworthy style of service, including singing flight attendants and peanuts-only refreshments, have drawn attention whenever they air and wherever they take to the air.
   And its low fares have won the praise of the flying public.
   From the get-go, Southwest Airlines has stood apart in a tradition-bound industry, and its unique path has led it to operational and financial  success while some old-line carriers have been bought, sold or folded.
   Now, the one-time upstart from Texas,  the largest domestic carrier in the U.S.,  is spreading its wings to Atlanta.
   The first response? A welcome.

   Not a Southwest Airlines spot. Even funnier:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News


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